A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel

A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel❰PDF / Epub❯ ☆ A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel Author Ruth Ozeki – Bluevapours.co.uk In Tokyo, sixteen year old Nao has decided there s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great grand In Tokyo, sixteen year old Nao has for the PDF º decided there s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who s lived than a century A diary is Nao s only solace and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagineAcross the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island A Tale eBook ê who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox possibly debris from the devastatingtsunami As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future Full of Ozeki s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Tale for the Epub à Beingis a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

Ruth Ozeki born in New Haven, Connecticut for the PDF º is a Japanese American novelist She is the daughter of anthropologist Floyd LounsburyOzeki published her debut novel, My Year of Meats, in She followed up with All Over Creation in Her new novel, A Tale for the Time Being, was published on March , She is married to Canadian land artist Oliver Kellhammer, and the couple divides their time between New York City and Vancouver.

A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel Kindle ´ Tale for
  • Hardcover
  • 422 pages
  • A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel
  • Ruth Ozeki
  • English
  • 04 February 2018
  • 0670026638

10 thoughts on “A Tale for the Time Being:A Novel

  1. Zaphoddent says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Dammit this should have been at least a 4 star book Till about the second half of part 3, I was all set to give this rave reviews cause Nao s story was so compelling and well written plus there wasn t enough of Ruth s woeful tone to grate on the nerves Then Ruth s dream sequence comes up and ugh it damn near ruins the bloody book It s ridiculous Some psychic, whimsical,zen bullshit It s not the spiritual realm that s the problem, it s the fact that it comes from almost nowhere and it sound Dammit this should have been at least a 4 star book Till about the second half of part 3, I was all set to give this rave reviews cause Nao s story was so compelling and well written plus there wasn t enough of Ruth s woeful tone to grate on the nerves Then Ruth s dream sequence comes up and ugh it damn near ruins the bloody book It s ridiculous Some psychic, whimsical,zen bullshit It s not the spiritual realm that s the problem, it s the fact that it comes from almost nowhere and it sounds forced and ridiculous, very unlike Nao s meeting of her ancestors How bad is it At first I thought it was a joke within the book Sadly it wasn t The reason it was going to get a great review was the fact that the Nao s sections were well written, dispensing a lot of cultural information without sounding like a lecture Then the Ruth sections would pop up and it was like going from brilliance to silly trivialities in milliseconds Kinda jarring and not in a good way Never read a book that was so bipolar Found Ruth self pitying and bloody boring The worst parts were Ruth s dreams Oh lord how annoying, how iffy and again how bloody irritatingly annoying Cut out all the Ruth sections and this would have been a much better book I listened to this and every time Nao s part was over and Ruth s story came up, I groaned Almost abandoned the book but Nao s story was compelling enough to hang on Then the end starts drawing closer and I swear I have never been so close to chucking a book in disgust after investing so much time The only hope was that the brilliance of the Nao sections would override the banality of the Ruth sections Sadly this did not happen Should have followed instinct to chuck the book Definitely not worth the invested time On a good note the author reads the audiobook and does a pretty good job

  2. Rebecca says:

    If I d had my way, the 2013 Man Booker Prize would have gone to this novel writing documentary filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priestess from British Columbia, Canada by way of Japan A Tale for the Time Being is a rich reflection on what it means to be human in an era of short attention spans, the dearth of meaning, and imminent environmental threat.The time being the present moment is what we re stuck with now and must embrace The time being in the Buddhist viewpoint, each human is entrapped b If I d had my way, the 2013 Man Booker Prize would have gone to this novel writing documentary filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priestess from British Columbia, Canada by way of Japan A Tale for the Time Being is a rich reflection on what it means to be human in an era of short attention spans, the dearth of meaning, and imminent environmental threat.The time being the present moment is what we re stuck with now and must embrace The time being in the Buddhist viewpoint, each human is entrapped by time, which means that we are all in this together this is an Everyman tale.On present day Vancouver Island, Ruth, a Japanese American novelist who is attempting to write a memoir of her mother s slow demise from Alzheimer s but has a bad case of writer s block, stumbles across a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the beach Inside she finds a cache of old letters and a teenage girl s diary, disguised as a copy of Marcel Proust sla recherche du temps perdu.The diary belonged to sixteen year old Nao pronounced now is it all starting to fit together Yasutani, who cheerfully and informally confides in her imagined reader about her life The past few years in Tokyo have not been easy for her she s been the victim of extreme bullying at the hands of her classmates, and suicide seems to run in the family but she has a guardian angel in the form of her great grandmother, Buddhist nun Jiko, who is approaching death at age 104 but still represents the voice of wisdom and a timeless perspective.In a modified epistolary format that includes diaries, letters, e mails, and an abstract of a disappearing journal article, Ozeki builds her gentle academic mystery where did the lunchbox come from How did it wash up in Canada Are Nao and the other diary subjects still alive and well, or did they die in the 2011 Japanese tsunami Alternating chapters contrast Nao s diary entries with Ruth s reactions and commentary a decade later Yet, in a delicious outbreak of magic realism, it seems Ruth may actually have some power to change Nao s fate.This is a superbly intelligent novel, with concerns ranging from ocean currents and pollution to the wacky quantum physics theory of multiple worlds Ultimately, it is about being happy in the here and now not looking to the past or the future for contentment or hope and not indulging in regret or wishes As the character Ruth states in the epilogue I d much rather know, but then again, not knowing keeps all the possibilities open It keeps all the worlds alive This formed part of an article on the Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist for Bookkaholic

  3. Teresa says:

    What a ride This novel sucked me in and then spit me out, leaving me gasping as it did I can t say this book is perfect It s probably a bit flawed, as many novels are, but with the totality of it meaning so muchthan any flaws might take away None of these flaws come from the writing itself, though, and if you feel some things here and there are a bit slow, please be patient Zen Buddhism is a big theme after all it picks up quickly and flows again, almost immediately.There are man What a ride This novel sucked me in and then spit me out, leaving me gasping as it did I can t say this book is perfect It s probably a bit flawed, as many novels are, but with the totality of it meaning so muchthan any flaws might take away None of these flaws come from the writing itself, though, and if you feel some things here and there are a bit slow, please be patient Zen Buddhism is a big theme after all it picks up quickly and flows again, almost immediately.There are many postmodern, metafictional elements to the telling of this story, ones we ve seen before footnotes mostly to explain Japanese words , appendices read them as they re mentioned they elucidate but don t bore , a main character who is the novelist and who, I m sure, is also not the novelist , but they are so well done and seem so accessible and integral to the tale that none jar or feel over familiar.The story s told with some humor in the beginning, enough to lull you with the voice of the young girl, Nao, in the diary to almost forgetting a couple of tell tale bits that surely don t mean what they probably do mean She s too young, you tell herself, that would be too sad, too horrible And then when you are hit with what she s endured and is enduring when she reaches her now , it s that muchheartbreaking and even hard to read Adding to the growing darkness is the addition of Nao s great uncle Haruki s secret diary, which contains some of the most horrific things that were done in WWII none of that new to me but still haunting, that being a good word for the whole of this novel.And so many themes, ones I love, ones that I saw in new ways, mostly to do with time and being and non being , as you might guess from the title, but still muchmemory, dreams, the effects of violence, stories, reading and writing who is actually calling into being, creating, whom The handling of these themes is masterful, a word I rarely use in reviews, but when I do, I must give the book 5 stars.At some point while reading, I was reminded of McEwan s The Child in Time a novel I love for one particular scene only, but now that I refresh my memory of that book, there s another superficial connection as well

  4. Julie Christine says:

    I attended the Port Townsend Writers Conference this week Just before an afternoon workshop on Wednesday, I chatted with a woman who is writing her memoir I don t read fiction, she told me Are there any good female writers Not Are there any female writers you d recommend Just, Are there any good ones Never mind the 813 ways I wanted to respond to the question I thought of the last great book I d read, which happened to be written by a woman I began to tell her of A Tale for theI attended the Port Townsend Writers Conference this week Just before an afternoon workshop on Wednesday, I chatted with a woman who is writing her memoir I don t read fiction, she told me Are there any good female writers Not Are there any female writers you d recommend Just, Are there any good ones Never mind the 813 ways I wanted to respond to the question I thought of the last great book I d read, which happened to be written by a woman I began to tell her of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki I said something about a teenage girl s diary washing up on the shore of a remote island in Desolation Sound, British Columbia About a writer in the doldrums, plodding through her memoir About a mystery and Zen Buddhism and quantum mechanics I did a terrible job of describing this beautiful book, for the woman sitting next to me said, Oh, mysteries I would never read a mystery My husband likes P.D James, though No, wait, I wanted to say You don t understand It s not amystery mystery There s just this diary of a young girl being bullied and the tsunami and flotsam and Schr dinger s cat, andBut it was too late Class began and we delved into the mysteries of character development Her question made me consider the relevance of author gender A part of the me thinks Who cares if the writer is male or female Why can t we categorize a piece as a fine work of prose without the condescending sub category of woman female writer We don t say male writer, now do weYet, when it comes to a work as self referential asA Tale for the Time Being, it is hard to separate the writer from her thematic approach Men and women do regard time, space, the natural world, memory and mortality differently, don t we Or perhaps we articulate the same beliefs and emotions in a different way I m getting all tangled up here Much like Ruth does as she attempts to sort out the mystery of the diary she finds on the beach Ozeki uses the avatar of Proust sla Recherche du Temps Perdu as a literal and figurative bookend A copy of this 19th century classic is repurposed as a blank journal and written in by Naoko, or Nao, as she prefers to be called Nao is a young woman, ethnically Japanese but raised in the United States The late 90 s tech bubble bursts and the economic collapse sends her family back to Japan There she buys the journal and uses it to escape from the horror of the physical abuse and psychological torture she experiences at her new high school and the tragedy of her father s depression Nao is our guide through much of this story and like her name, Nao is a time being Her now is in the past, but Nao becomes Ruth s present.Many years after Nao s abominable teenage years, Ruth, the story s main character a writer and student of Zen Buddhism, much like Ruth, the book s author finds the journal Enclosed in the diary are several letters written in Japanese, which appear to be from a much earlier time than Nao s diary entries in English These letters become a mystery within a mystery Ruth wonders if the carefully packaged journal is flotsam from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami or jetsam from a young woman crying for help It is significant that the title of Proust s epic novel cum memoir is translated either as In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past, for both titles fit Proust s and Ozeki s themes although the first translation is literal This is a story of time How truth and memory shift and are reconstructed with time how impatient we are for troubled times to pass, yet we are breathless with regret when we realize the time we have wasted on the way It is an ode to the bliss of the present an elegy to the lost past This is also a story that takes time It asks that you slow down and turn its pages as carefully as Ruth does Nao s diary It is a story of images, of settings, nuances and breath which, like Nao s diary and the old letters Ruth has translated, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin Ozeki juxtaposes the peace of Ruth s isolation and simple life on the island with the chaos of Nao s Tokyo Yet even the island is subject to the chaos of the natural world Ruth must dash off e mails before the latest winter storm knocks out power to their home She and her husband search their property and beyond for the corpse of the family cat, certain wolves have made quick hors d oeuvres of kitty This is in contrast to Nao s beloved great grandmother, Jiko, who is a Buddhist nun living a life of elective poverty and self reliance at a peaceful mountain temple site.We are reminded that the past never forgets, whether it is found letters or diaries, or a moment captured on the internet that can never truly be erased We are reminded that it is the present which demands our greatest attention, for the present becomes the past with the beat of a heart, the screech of train, the crash of an airliner into a skyscraper or the crash of a wave on an island This is a novel of grand themes, complex themes, themes that require appendices It is a work of fiction with an extensive bibliography I tend to steer clear of complicated works of fiction that endeavor to instruct I simply want a good story Which Ruth Ozeki offers Oh boy, does she ever

  5. Brina says:

    Ruth Ozeki is an award winning film maker and novelist A Tale for the Time Being is her third and most ambitious novel and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer and Man Booker awards In this 2013 autobiographical novel, Ozeki details how a woman named Ruth finds a diary, letters, and watch belonging to a teenaged girl named Naoka sealed inside a ziplock bag These items most likely traveled to Canada from Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami A novelist looking for a good story, Ruth Ruth Ozeki is an award winning film maker and novelist A Tale for the Time Being is her third and most ambitious novel and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer and Man Booker awards In this 2013 autobiographical novel, Ozeki details how a woman named Ruth finds a diary, letters, and watch belonging to a teenaged girl named Naoka sealed inside a ziplock bag These items most likely traveled to Canada from Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami A novelist looking for a good story, Ruth decides to read Nao s diary in real time, embarking on a journey that has readers questioning auspices of both time and life as we know it Ruth moved from Manhattan to a small island off of British Columbia after meeting her husband Oliver at a conference She brought her widowed mother who suffered from Alzheimer s on her move, consolidating her remaining family to one place Named Desolation Island by its residents, the island hasflora and fauna than people and is home to thriving ecosystems This is what originally brought Oliver, an Iocene Era enthusiast, along with his cat Pesto, to live there A tiny community named Whaletown for the bygone industry, the town is home to quirky people who have fascinating stories to tell Although off of most internet grids, the setting is ideal for writing, and, for the most part, Ruth enjoys living there One day while walking along the beach at Jap Ranch, Ruth finds a diary along with letters and a watch, all sealed inside a giant ziplock bag Oliver believes that they came from Japan following the tsunami, and Ruth has her interest piqued Struggling to finish a memoir about her mother, Ruth decides to read the writing of sixteen year old Nao Yasutani, a Tokyo resident who moved back to Japan from California with her parents following the dot.com bubble crash Even though Nao s story captivates Ruth, she decides to read the story in real time in order to honor Nao s memory The real life Ruth Ozeki embarks on a multi layered story by telling Nao s tale A time being is a being in time, and this is how Nao chooses to begin her diary We find out that Nao is old for her grade and tormented by classmates, that her brilliant father can not find a job and constantly contemplates suicide, and that Nao is so American and would rather be back in California but her friends there have discarded her Her mother strives to keep the family together and sends Nao to live with her great grandmother, a 104 year old Buddhist nun named Jiko, for her summer vacation What ensues, is a touching relationship, and one that has Nao discovering and preserving her family history in her diary Being an American of Japanese descent, Ozeki desires to write of the kamikaze pilots during World War II She details how the war was different for Japan and the United States and uses the events of 9 11 to contrast the different perspectives Nao s father Yaruki is named for his uncle who sacrificed his life for his country during the war Yaruki 1 was a student studying French existentialism and the least likely of soldiers Drafted at age 19 near the war s completion, he was chosen for a suicide mission, and, with his death, leads his mother Jiko to take the vows of a nun Ozeki weaves all of these storylines by showing how family history repeats itself with Yaruki 1 and Yaruki 2, and with Yaruki 1 and Nao Ruth and Oliver contemplate all of these stories as they read the diary, and are left wondering if Nao perishes in the tsunami or if she somehow survived in time Although I am usually not one who enjoys reading about alternate realities, I found Ozeki s ideas fascinating, and read quickly to find a resolution for both the Yasutani family and for Ruth Ruth Ozeki employs a diary, letters, Buddhist teachings, dreams, and Nao s stream of consciousness thoughts to create an exceptional novel She expertly weaves many storylines together and writes in third person, even when one of the protagonists is meant to be herself I found her questioning of the time continuum and using this as a means to bring the world closer together to be a thought provoking concept A new author to me, I found A Tale for the Time Being both thorough and captivating, and rate this gem of a novel 4.5 bright stars

  6. Elyse Walters says:

    Update this is 1.99 again today as a kindle download It s still one of my favorite books It came out the year that The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize They were both my two top favorites of the year Great day to pick up the ebook if you ve not read it yet Update Wow 1.99 Kindle special of this book is a GREAT DEAL A Tale for The Time Being came out the same year that The Goldfinch won The Pulitzer Prize For me it was a toss up as I felt this book was as good Update this is 1.99 again today as a kindle download It s still one of my favorite books It came out the year that The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize They were both my two top favorites of the year Great day to pick up the ebook if you ve not read it yet Update Wow 1.99 Kindle special of this book is a GREAT DEAL A Tale for The Time Being came out the same year that The Goldfinch won The Pulitzer Prize For me it was a toss up as I felt this book was as good as winning also If you ve not read this story and have wanted to or want to check it out have a Kindle the price is fantastic I like this book so much that after I read it on Netgalley I went and bought a physical copy which I still own BRILLIANT INTIMATE ENLIGHTENING This is the most UN ordinary Fiction book I ve read all year Its painful complicated riveting The writing style is piercing with integrity charm and bravery I ve picked a stand out for me in this book note taken out of context but its beauty stands alone won t spoil the story Everyone was superhappy because finding a nodobotoke is a good sign Muji said its the most important bone, the one we call an Adam s apple in English, but in Japanese, it s called the Throat Buddha, because it s triangular and looks a little bit like the shape of a person sitting zazen If you can find the Throat Buddha, then the dead person will enter nirvana and return to ocean of eternal tranquility OneSometimes the mind arrives but words don t.Sometimes words arrive but the mind doesn tSometimes mind and words both arrive.Sometimes neither mind nor words arrive.Mind and words are time being Arriving and not arriving are time being Many THUMBS Up UP UP to Ruth Ozeki I already miss my friendship with Nao because we became friends

  7. Scarlet says:

    3.5 A Tale for the Time Being is like one of those assorted platters you get in restaurants there is a little bit of everything but not everything is necessarily appealing Unlike dining, however, I m not at the liberty to pick and choose here Consequently, my reaction to the overall book is kind of hazy Some portions blew me away mostly the last quarter Some portions made me think Some broke my heart, some left me appalled, some put me to sleep And then there were these parts that I sim 3.5 A Tale for the Time Being is like one of those assorted platters you get in restaurants there is a little bit of everything but not everything is necessarily appealing Unlike dining, however, I m not at the liberty to pick and choose here Consequently, my reaction to the overall book is kind of hazy Some portions blew me away mostly the last quarter Some portions made me think Some broke my heart, some left me appalled, some put me to sleep And then there were these parts that I simply did not understand.I m intrigued by this book It is weird and inventive and very, very deceptive It is so muchthan what it claims to be It is so dense without actually feeling dense It is so easy to read but not so easy to comprehend A Tale for the Time Being is the story of two women, separated by distance and time, yet intimately bound by a relationship that cuts across all dimensions one reads what the other has written.Ruth, a writer living in some obscure island in British Columbia, comes across a Hello Kitty lunchbox on the beach one morning Inside, among other things, is a Japanese schoolgirl s diary Bound by the hardcover of Proust sla recherche du temps perdu or In Search of Lost Time, it opens with an almost cheerful declaration of suicide by a young girl called Naoko from halfway across the world.Contrary to what anyone in her place would do, Ruth decides to pace her reading So she does not read any faster than Naoko would have written.This is a story within a story kind of book Ruth reading Nao s diary is the bigger story Nao s diary, in turn, is like a collection of multiple stories in which Nao talks about the people in her life her great grandmother Jiko, who is a Zen Buddhist nun her great uncle Haruki 1, who was a kamikaze pilot in WW2 her father Haruki 2, who is depressed and suicidal after losing his job Like I said, an assortment platter.Let s talk about Nao first For me, Naoko Yasutani was the pivot that held this book in place And this is a book that really needs a pivot because Ozeki likes to meander, order and reason be damned I could count on Nao to bring me back, to engage me again, to keep me turning the pages, because how could I rest not knowing what happened to this young girl who is so ruthlessly bullied by her peers view spoiler Ruthless is not a strong enough word Nao is bullied physically, verbally, mentally, even sexually hide spoiler Sure, Nao annoyed me sometimes Doesn t change the fact that she is the first thing I will remember whenever anyone mentions this book.Coming to Ruth I realized quite late that the Ruth and Oliver in the story were based on Ozeki and her husband Oliver Well, what can I say I just hope they are not this profoundly boring in real life.Every time the POV switched to Ruth, I had to suppress a groan So dry, so monotonous, so dead Oliver is like this walking encyclopedia or something 90% of what he says has NOTHING to do with the story Ocean gyres, garbage patches, quantum physics that last chapter was eerily reminiscent of my high school Physics textbook.I read this review that suggested Ruth s parts should have been cut out entirely Not quite possible, since Ruth plays a very important role in the book She is the reader and Nao s story would have no meaning without a reader But I still think a lot of things could have been edited out.The book takes a mystical turn in the last quarter Nao s seemingly ordinary diary turns out to be not so ordinary after all Ozeki plays with the notion of time, letting the past and the present collide, blurring the lines between reality and illusion Like I said, I did not understand the whole thing In fact, I don t think I m supposed to understand the whole thing.Irrespective of my rating, A Tale for the Time Being is the kind of book I will remember It is not perfect, it is not seamless, but it is not unmemorable either This book just missed out on 4 star amazing for me and that is mainly my own fault, I think I did not pay attention when I should have paid attention because this book was not what I was led to believe it was Well, I m still glad I read it.Now to wait and watch what the Booker committee decides And it s Eleanor Catton youngest Booker recipient ever for The Luminaries the heftiest book in the shortlist this year Congratulations D

  8. Debbie says:

    3.5 starsSitting here at the bistro with my best friends, and we all order the same exotic dish They re licking their chops and raving about it I m liking it okay, but I get a few bursts of flavor that make me scrunch up my face Sure, the sauce is great, but it s taking me forever to chew this meat I m so busy trying to digest it, I really can t even talk yet This is an award winning dish by a grand chef What is WRONG with me How come my friends don t have to chew so much Isn t the meat 3.5 starsSitting here at the bistro with my best friends, and we all order the same exotic dish They re licking their chops and raving about it I m liking it okay, but I get a few bursts of flavor that make me scrunch up my face Sure, the sauce is great, but it s taking me forever to chew this meat I m so busy trying to digest it, I really can t even talk yet This is an award winning dish by a grand chef What is WRONG with me How come my friends don t have to chew so much Isn t the meat on their plates as tough I keep chomping away, but I feel weird and embarrassed that I m odd person out I just hate not being able to share the glee, but really, I don t want the recipe And I m not hot to tell my friends that the meal didn t do me like it did them.Like the meal, this book has a whole lot of good It starts with the proclamation that we re all time beings It got an A for cool factor right there This is a strange and at first totally enchanting read Nao is a Japanese teenager living in Tokyo, transplanted from Silicon Valley She has written a diary that washes up on the shores of Canada Her story is unusual and inventive A writer, Ruth, living in the woods with her husband, finds the diary and sets about trying to figure out what happened to Nao The story alternates between the two worlds, and it s clever how the stories intersect Lots of topics are touched upon suicide, bullying, 9 11, Zen Buddhism, and Japanese soldiers in WW2.Nao s voice is just plain cool I sort of wish the whole book had been her journal Ruth s story just wasn t as interesting and I kept wanting to get back to Nao Nao s comments about the oddness and beauty and interconnectivity of time are playful and profound And some stuff is cool beyond words There s a great communal bath scene in a Zen monastery that I ll remember for a long while And Nao s great grandmother, a wise old Zen Buddhist nun, tells Nao to find her superpower and use it It made me think, what is my superpower Ozeki made me think of things I ve never thought about before, and that was luscious I had never tasted such an unusual dish, but why did she put such a big heap on my plate, and why was the meat so tough in places One piece I couldn t digest was the science lecture At the end of the book, the author suddenly decided to teach us dimwits about the beauty of quantum physics If you re not into it, you re just not into it Reading fiction, I m looking for a rich plot, and I resent the intrusion of a science class She even has appendices that provide eveninformation on quantum physics really strange and unwanted in a book that should have only fiction between its covers.Another bite I choked on was the magical realism I m reading along thinking this was a realistic story, when I suddenly run into magic Ruth notices that words in Nao s journal had mysteriously disappeared Huh There were other magical elements, and they all ruined it for me.Okay, onebite that was unpleasant a really long dream I hate dreams in novels almost as much as I hate magical realism Dreams are supposed to be all symbolic and cool, but I just think of them as boring and distracting interruptions.And blech I do not like the taste of footnotes There arethan 150 of them I hated having to exit the story to read a footnote Yes, I realize I could have just ignored them, but my nosy self convinced my reading self that leaving the page to chase a footnote was the right thing to do Because what if they were whispers that I needed to hear Some of the footnotes were justinfo, but many were Japanese phrases I m guessing the author did this for authenticity, but I would have much preferred she use the English translation so that I didn t have to leave the page It was especially a pain with the Kindle because I had to click and go to a new page to see the footnote, and sometimes I d space out and miss the Back button, sending me to god knows where in the book I d have to find my way back, meanwhile losing the reading momentum and gettingandannoyed The middle and the very end dragged on and on for me The book needed a good edit Too much food on the plate Too many descriptions of nature, too much quantum physics Add on the dreams and the side trips into fantasyland, and I was ready for the book to be over I drove myself crazy going back and forth between giving this book a 4 or a 3, but I ultimately ended up measuring it by whether I wanted to pick it back up every day not usually , whether I kept looking to see how far I had gotten yep , and whether I thought about what should have been edited out totally This all led me to the Road of 3 But but but.there is a whole lot of really really great stuff in this book No, I probably won t buy this dish again, but I m not the least bit sorry I tried it

  9. Samadrita says:

    3.5 5Rare is the book which I have simultaneously loved and hated Rare is the book which has deftly pried open the shell of visible reality to expose the pliant flesh of the human condition with such loving care yet disappointingly sacrificed narrative integrity to manipulate the reader s emotions in the end The Nao narrated portion of the novel appears too served up to be believable A beautifully decorated obento offered to the smug Western reader who sees Japan as a collage of stereotypes 3.5 5Rare is the book which I have simultaneously loved and hated Rare is the book which has deftly pried open the shell of visible reality to expose the pliant flesh of the human condition with such loving care yet disappointingly sacrificed narrative integrity to manipulate the reader s emotions in the end The Nao narrated portion of the novel appears too served up to be believable A beautifully decorated obento offered to the smug Western reader who sees Japan as a collage of stereotypes ijime, hikikomori, jisatsu, French maid cafes, enjo kosai, host clubs, bishounen, zazen, juvenile delinquency, the endemic hatred for gaijin, kamikaze pilots and so on and so forth What disappointed me most was Ozeki s unabashed pandering to the Western reader and reducing Nao s life to the melodramatic plot from a campy J dorama Not only is she hated and bullied brutally in school for appearingAmerican than Japanese, but she also has a hikikomori suicidal father who refuses to go find work and lurks on forums looking for suicide buddies Friendless and lonely, she even dabbles in compensated dating with hentai oji sans And despite contending with such a misery magnet of a life, Nao s voice manages to muster a sardonic indifference which I found extremely hard to believe at times The only missing pieces in this perfect parade of cliches are a couple of yakuza members with permed hairstyles and tattooed forearms or loan sharks terrorizing the Yasutani family One of the reasons I rated Midnight s Children so highly was because Rushdie never dumbed down India or its distinct sociopolitical features for the sake of winning easy approval of the random European American reader In fact, he parodied the whole Western misconception about snake charmers being a defining motif of Indian cultural traditions without ever alienating his readerbase As a diasporic author, Ozeki failed a similar test of authenticity in my eyes Even thesublime and endearing bits featuring Jiko, the hundred and four years old Zen Buddhist nun and former anarcho feminist novelist, who gives Nao hersupapawato grapple with the cruelties of everyday life, fail to cancel out the annoyance of the cliche plot points And the last stretch botched it completely The quantum mechanics and magical realist bits came out of nowhere and clashed with the stark realism of the earlier parts of the novel I do not mind a plot straying into the domain of absurdity for the sake of enforcing some token symbolism the significance of the writer reader bond in this case , but there has to be some kind of cohesion between the disparate worlds of reality and far fetched possibility which this novel unfortunately lacked Also I ve watched enough Fringe episodes to remain unaffected by the theories of alternate reality.Small failings aside, this is an extremely important work which probes the underlying logic or lack thereof of wars and xenophobia, factors in the deep and abiding importance of the natural world in an era of rabid climate change, preaches compassion and tolerance towards even those worthy of contempt, and advocates living life for the time being regardless of the woes that may make it difficult to bear But to rate this any higher would be to go against my beliefs of what a good book should be able to achieve without resorting to gimmickry

  10. Pam says:

    Warning everyone else in this world loves this book It is the story of a teenager, Nao, in Toyko who decides to pour her soul into a diary that washes ashore in Canada into the hands of an author The author becomes obsessed with Nao who tells the story actually not really of her great grandmother, a Buddhist Nun There are a ton of themes including East vs West, search for home and roots, meaning of time, quantum physics, and search for peace and acceptance Basically it is a metaphysical Warning everyone else in this world loves this book It is the story of a teenager, Nao, in Toyko who decides to pour her soul into a diary that washes ashore in Canada into the hands of an author The author becomes obsessed with Nao who tells the story actually not really of her great grandmother, a Buddhist Nun There are a ton of themes including East vs West, search for home and roots, meaning of time, quantum physics, and search for peace and acceptance Basically it is a metaphysical novel Called brilliantly beguiling, I was expectingactually a lotThe alternating chapters with its points of view and telling the story both backwards and forwards is a construction I find over used and no longer clever I also found no need for Nao s life to be so disturbingly horrific and honestly can t believe that the adults in her life couldn t wouldn t step in to help her Her 104 year old great grandmother fragile in body was the most capable adult around really Honestly the author evoked irritation and then just pissed me off Reading the book did remind me that I like my books as Aristotle liked his theater true to life and yetbeautiful I did not find all this cruelty to be beautiful Ozeki did create haunting characters and I will remember the basic storyline As I said, I am the only one who isn t enraptured by this book

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